Malaysia, say hello to your new king. Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah from Pahang was announced as the new ruler Thursday following the historic abdication of the previous king, Sultan Muhammad V.
Sultan Muhammad V stepped aside this month following just two years on the throne with people taking note that he had reportedly married former Miss Moscow, Oksana Voevodina while on leave. His abdication came as a great shock as it’s the first instance of it ever happening in the country’s history, which is unique in its system of rotational monarchy.
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a unique arrangement where the national throne changes hands every five years between rulers of the country’s nine states headed by Islamic royalty. The other four have governors. Under the rotation system, the central state of Pahang is next in line to provide the monarch.
Following a meeting of eight of the state sultans (dubbed the Conference of Rulers) at the national palace in Kuala Lumpur, Sultan Abdullah was picked as the new king for a five-year term. Muhammad V, who remains the sultan of the northeastern state of Kelantan despite having abdicated as the national monarch, was absent from the Conference.
Sultan Abdullah replaced his elderly, ailing father several days after Muhammad V’s abdication, in a step viewed as paving the way for him to become the next national monarch.
What do we know about Sultan Abdullah?
As well as being a member of the FIFA council, he is president of the Asian Hockey Association and a former head of the Football Association of Malaysia. After attending school in Malaysia, the keen polo player went on to study in Britain, where he attended the Sandhurst military academy, according to a biography published on Bernama.
What happens next?
If he does not become king – he could refuse the post, or be deemed unsuitable – then the next in line for the throne is the sultan of Johor state. To be elected as the national king, a sultan must be supported by at least five of the state rulers. The new king will be sworn in on January 31 in a lavish ceremony.
While their role is ceremonial, Malaysia’s royalty command great respect and criticising them is strictly forbidden. The king is also the symbolic head of Islam in the nation, as well as the nominal chief of the military.
Malaysia’s sultans trace a lineage back to the Malay sultanates of the 15th century. The king is referred to as Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or “He Who Is Made Lord”.
Source: AFPRelaxnews, CNN International